Republicans back massive deportations, call for tariffs to protect farmers

Republican delegates approved a Trump-backed party platform on Monday that endorses "baseline tariffs" on imports and more stringent trade relations with China in the name of protecting U.S. farmers, workers, and industries from unfair trade. The 16-page document also called for "the largest deportation operation in American history," aimed at undocumented immigrants.

Senate has no appetite for House funding bill — Schumer

House Republicans wrote a one-sided, "slapdash and reckless" bill to keep the government running after Sept. 30, said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Monday. House passage of the GOP package, which called for an 8 percent cut in discretionary spending from current levels with an exemption for the military and veterans, was not certain since some Republican lawmakers spoke against it.

One in seven on House ag panel collected farm payments

Eight current members of the House Agriculture Committee received farm subsidies at some point since 1998, said the Environmental Working Group on Tuesday. Seven of the eight describe themselves on their congressional websites as farmers or the offspring of a farm family.

With trade war, farmer support for Trump erodes sharply

One in seven of the farmers who voted for President Trump in 2016 would not vote for him today, according to a poll released on Monday. The escalating trade war was leading cause of erosion of support for Trump among a staunchly Republican group. But a majority still support him: 60 percent would vote for him now vs. 75 percent in 2016.

Food policy group gives Congress failing grade

Congress "is falling short when it comes to food policy, showing little progress" this year, says Food Policy Action, established in 2012 as the food movement's voice in Washington. In releasing its annual scorecard of members of the House and Senate, the group said the average score was 49 percent, down from the 57 percent average of the two-year 114th Congress, which ended in 2016.

Former congressional staffer to run against House Ag panelist Rodney Davis

Third-term Rep Rodney Davis, a Republican member of the House Agriculture Committee and an early critic of the 2010 school lunch reforms, has a Democratic challenger for 2018, says Roll Call. A lawyer and former House staff worker, Erik Jones, has entered the race against Davis in the Republican-leaning district in downstate Illinois.

Conservative groups want military to nix climate programs

Conservative groups have written a letter to U.S. lawmakers calling on them to cancel programs started under the Obama administration to lower greenhouse gas emissions in the military. The groups argue that the programs “are likely to undermine military readiness by diverting scarce resources.”

Pruitt suggests putting climate change debate on TV

Scott Pruitt, head of the EPA, told reporters he would like to see a televised debate on climate change led by scientists, though he didn’t mention how they would be selected, says Reuters. "There are lots of questions that have not been asked and answered (about climate change)," said Pruitt.

Food stamp enrollment to fall steadily in the decade ahead, says CBO

Enrollment in food stamps, the premiere U.S. antihunger program, soared after the 2008-09 recession, prompting conservative lawmakers to say middle-class taxpayers could not afford the program. With the economic recovery, CBO estimates food stamp participation this year will be the lowest since 2010 and will decline annually through 2027.

Perdue endorses former chief of staff to chair Georgia GOP

The first Republican elected governor of Georgia since Reconstruction is backing a key operative in the campaign, John Watson, in a four-way fight for Republican state chairman. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue endorsed Watson in an email that began circulating on Wednesday, saying, "I do not think there is anyone better prepared or positioned to lead our party organization to continuing victories."

Climate deniers angry that Pruitt hasn’t gone further

Conservatives intent on reversing the Obama administration’s climate-change legacy are angry that EPA chief Scott Pruitt hasn’t gone further. They’d like to see him try to reverse the “endangerment finding” that provides the legal framework for the Clean Power Plan and other climate-change policies.

While ordering a wall, Trump says U.S. will ‘repatriate illegal aliens swiftly’

Fulfilling a signature promise of his campaign, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and "to repatriate illegal aliens swiftly, consistently and humanely." More than one-half of farm workers are believed to be undocumented; the largest U.S. farm group said lawmakers might be more willing to discuss immigration reform if border security is strengthened.

If it’s a bad night for GOP, Dems may have a chance in Central Valley

Two Republican-held House seats in the heavily agricultural Central Valley of California could be ripe for picking by Democrats if voters are riled by GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump's criticism of Hispanics and immigrants, says the Los Angeles Times. Rep. David Valadao, a member of the Appropriations subcommittee that oversees USDA and FDA funding, represents a district that is 71 percent Latino, and Agriculture Committee member Jeff Denham has a district that is 26 percent Latino.

Dam removal plan means hope for Klamath Basin salmon

Oregon and California announced on Tuesday that they will remove four hydroelectric dams in the Klamath Basin that have been at the heart of a years-long fight between tribes, farmers and environmentalists.

Sam Kass, on the spot for White House food policy

Sam Kass holds a variety of titles - White House chef, food policy advisor, executive director of the "Let's Move" initiative, says the New York Times in a profile story ahead of Kass' wedding this weekend.

A deadlock in Senate race in Iowa

Democrat Bruce Braley and Republican Joni Ernst are tied at 40 percent each with 15 percent undecided in a Suffolk/USA Today poll of one of the races that could determine control of the U.S. Senate.

DesJarlais wins his race, Cochran wants lawsuit dismissed

House Agriculture Committee member Scott DesJarlais is the undisputed winner of the Republican primary in Tennessee's fourth congressional district.

With $200 million to divide, USDA seeks job-training ideas

The government will fund up to 10 pilot projects to provide food stamp recipients with the training and education to move up the job ladder, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced at a county employment office in Arlington, Va. The $200 million program is intended to improve the $400 million-a-year employment and training programs that are an adjunct of the major U.S. anti-hunger program.

McConnell, Grimes argue farm bill in Kentucky Senate race

Democrat Alison Grimes faulted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for missing many Agriculture Committee hearings and for not being one of the negotiators who wrote the 2014 farm law, says the Associated Press.

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